Battle of Britain Memorial Flights grounded and visitor centre closed after Spitfire crash

Floral tributes left at the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF).Floral tributes left at the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF).
Floral tributes left at the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF).
The RAF has confirmed that Battle of Britain Memorial Flights have been grounded and the visitor centre will be closed as a mark of respect following the tragic Spitfire crash.

Squadron Leader Mark Long was killed when the Spitfire he was flying crashed in a field in Coningsby just before 1.20pm on Saturday (May 25).

Emergency services were called to the site on Langrick Road, but Lincolnshire Police confirmed that the injuries sustained by the RAF pilot, the sole occupant of the aircraft, were not survivable and he was sadly pronounced dead at the scene.

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An RAF spokesperson has confirmed that while the formal investigation is ongoing, the RAF has instigated a temporary pause in flying for the BBMF.

Squadron Leader Mark Long. Photo: RAFSquadron Leader Mark Long. Photo: RAF
Squadron Leader Mark Long. Photo: RAF

Coun Martin Hill, leader of Lincolnshire County Council which operates the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight visitor centre with RAF Coningsby, said that the visitor centre will be closed for the rest of this week, and that the county council would work with the RAF to reopen the centre when appropriate.

He said: “We were shocked and saddened by this tragic incident on Saturday and our thoughts are with Sqn Ldr Mark Long’s family and friends.

“My thoughts also extend to all the staff and personnel there who will be affected by this loss.”

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In a statement yesterday (Sunday), Group Captain Robbie Lees, Commander of the RAF's Display Air Wing, described Mark as “a great friend, colleague, and a passionate, professional aviator” who would be sorely missed by all that knew him.

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